Fashioning a Community: Pyer Moss Debuts Its Collaborative Open Studio 2 Campaign, 'Sister'

Illustration for article titled Fashioning a Community: Pyer Moss Debuts Its Collaborative Open Studio 2 Campaign, Sister
Photo: Micaiah Carter for Pyer Moss

If there is one thing a year full of social distance coupled with global outcries in support of Black lives has made clear, it is the power and beauty of the Black community. We have shown up. We have shown out. We have continued to show the world what we have always known: that Black lives matter as much as anyone else’s—and that Black creativity and ingenuity are a wonder to behold.

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Founded and helmed by 2019 The Root 100 honoree, 2020 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year, and new Reebok Global Director Kerby Jean-Raymond, Pyer Moss has always centered Black lives and creativity in its imagery and presentations. Launched in 2013, the label’s runway presentations are regularly among the most coveted invites each Fashion Week, each show treating its guests to not only beautiful clothes but a crash course in largely unknown Black history (coupled with Jean-Raymond’s personal history) through its “American, Also.” trilogy.

As the label explained in a release provided to The Glow Up:

The three-part collection series “American, Also.” was created to uncover and tell the stories of Black people’s contribution to popular American culture, stories that have been overlooked by mainstream American culture. The brand has become known for telling stories of the erased and deftly uses fashion, film and fine art to reverse that erasure.

In 2018, Pyer Moss launched the thesis with the runway show “Cowboy,” which paid homage to those black men and women who served as labor hands and crafted the cowboy and rodeo culture. They followed that runway show with a 9-part documentary that uncovers stories of modern day cowboys, pioneers, educators and activists in NYC, Chicago, Compton and Baltimore.

For the second installment of “American, Also.” named “Normal” the brand focused on telling stories of the normalcy in the black family experience. That installation was led with a runway show at the historic Weeksville Heritage Center followed by runway shows in Shanghai and Lagos. As if that wasn’t enough, the brand then followed up with the Director X led film “Seven Mothers.” A film that focuses on the family life of Kerby Jean-Raymond and the 7 women who raised him after his mother passed away in 1994.

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The third and final installment of that trilogy, “American, Also: Lesson 3" titled “Sister,” opened last September with a Fashion Week presentation at the landmark King’s Theater in Brooklyn, N.Y., near where Jean-Raymond grew up. In May of this year, the label released the trailer for a documentary chronicling that show and collection, which was inspired by and named for Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Black woman who invented rock ‘n’ roll. In anticipation of the trilogy’s completion, marked by the collection’s drop on October 3, Pyer Moss turned to its following and friends, putting out an open casting call for the campaign for “Collection 3: Sister,” as part of an ongoing collaborative concept called Open Studio.

From Pyer Moss:

Open Studio is the brand’s way of involving its customers and community in the creative process of the Collection 3 Campaign. Collaborators include models, stylists, set designers, hairstylists, and makeup artists just to name a few—all the necessary ingredients required to not just create editorial content, but content that portrays the brand’s ethos, showing the luxury in Black Liberation.

“‘Open Studio’ is our way of having our audience help create this art project I like to call Pyer Moss,” says Kerby Jean-Raymond. “It’s been a long, hard year and it was important for us to find a way to reconnect and reunite. I am so grateful to the models, stylists, photographers, set designers, designers and glam teams who helped us conduct ‘Open Studio 2’ and for helping us create history, welcome to the family. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate your continued support and collaboration. These images will serve as our official Collection 3 Campaign. We look forward to showing the results in the coming days.”

In addition to creative direction by Jean-Raymond himself and an all-Black cast, the production team includes photography by 2020 Glow Up 50 honoree Micaiah Carter; artistic direction by Anthony Konigbagbe; production by Adbur Rahman; styling by Sakinah Sela and Antoine Gregory; hair direction by Jawara with hairstyling by Latisha Chong, Matt Benns, Mideyah Chong, Allie Jackson, Shamicka Williams, Roddi W. and Helena Moke; makeup by 2020 Glow Up 50 honoree Raisa Flowers (who also walked the runway of Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Vol. 2 presentation on Oct. 2); set design by Natalie Hoffman; moving images by Alex Ashe and casting by Katherine Mateo.

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With so much art being generated across mediums, one might become distracted from the fact that Pyer Moss is still, in fact, a fashion label. But the clothes remain the star attraction; tomorrow, Saturday, October 3 at 12 pm ET, Pyer Moss will drop Collection 3, the collection shown in the Open Studio. To evoke the indelible influence of Sister Rosetta Tharpe and consistent with its ongoing spirit of collaboration, the collection features artwork by recently exonerated artist Richard Phillips to commemorate Tharpe’s life, says the label.

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And in a rare departure from its collaboration with Reebok, Pyer Moss will also release its first in-house shoe this Saturday, the Sculpt 1. Both the collection and the new shoe will exclusively be available at PyerMoss.com.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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